With back to school comes the parental food preoccupation once again


Since the kids started eating lunch at school going back several years now, a favorite (and requested) packed lunch has been what you see in the above picture:

a flat hamburger bun cut in half
a slice of roasted turkey
two thin slices of cucumber in between the turkey so as not to get the bread ‘wet’

Fine. I can do that. I make one sandwich, cut it in half, each kid gets a half, and that’s done. For a change of pace, they sometimes allow some salami slices, and occasionally a piece of lettuce instead of a cucumber, but that’s about the extent of it (in the sandwich department).

They will eat this more often than not until about the middle of the second term. Around the time shortly after March Break however, they start to complain about ‘another sandwich’ and I mix it up for them by offering crackers and cheese, instead, or something like that. (Don’t ask me what I pack them in June, by June no one cares about packed lunches anymore and I pretty much throw in whatever I can find including chips, store-bought cookies or other boxed items we rarely keep in the house).

Point is, the turkey-with-cucumber no dressing no butter no mayo no mustard has been a standard and so I fell back on that habit this week, too. Why fix it if it ain’t broke, kinda thing.

Today she remarked that she doesn’t like cucumber in turkey sandwiches.

I give up. Make your own damn lunch.

* * *

I made soup the other day, first pot of the season. Then I had two bowls for lunch. In the first bowl I threw in a handful of leftover wild rice and sprinkled it with parmesan cheese and it was filling, soothing and delicious.

Both kids won’t eat soup, especially chunky soup.


These are the same kids who will eat fancy Thai dishes, seafood, sushi, and deep-fried chicken from Popeyes. One kid likes gourmet sandwiches if served at home (like bbq-ed eggplant with feta cheese and herbs) but if I were to offer that up as a packed lunch I can guarantee he would not eat it. One kid will eat leftover pasta in a thermos, the other won’t. One kid will eat hotdogs all the time, the other occasionally only.

Look. Here’s the thing. I can’t look the other way when I have a competitive athlete on my hands who doesn’t eat his lunch. How can he get through a whole day of school, plus Phys Ed, plus running around at recess and lunch, on no food and then go play hard hockey at night? He gets low blood sugar and headaches and hockey is too expensive for me to not insist he eat an adequate meal at school. The other one, she gets whiny and sick-y too when she doesn’t eat properly but her school is closer (allowing for coming home for lunch occasionally) and she will eat several apples when hungry (she’s way pickier than the other one), so I’m less concerned with her opinions. Problem is, she is louder and way more demanding than the other guy who will just sit someplace and whimper…

Maybe it’s me. Maybe I should just do it, make some stupid lunch, have them eat or not eat it, and no you can’t have anything else unless you finish your lunch first. (I have done this in the past but for some reason, I’ve once again come to this place where I don’t enforce my own rule.)

Short term solution is to go back to that. The uneaten turkey sandwich above? Guess who will have to eat that after gymnastics tonight before getting her dinner served….and the other guy? I’ll sign him up for the hot lunch at school and forgo the entire fiasco of packing a meal for him. We will practice carrying a tray at home though, just in case. 🙂

* * *

2 thoughts on “With back to school comes the parental food preoccupation once again

  1. Ugh, I feel your pain and agree with every word here. I hate packing lunches, and go back and forth between packing healthy food, and they can eat it or starve; or caving in and packing cookies and chips with a juice box and calling it a lunch, just so I know they will at least get something in their stomachs lest they come home with a case of the raging crankies. I should really start making them make their own lunches (but I guess that’s about the same as caving to the cookies and chips lunch, GAH).

    • It’s like we’re doomed, isn’t it. Well part of my solution is that starting next Tuesday Ben will be getting the cafeteria hot lunch for three days. That’s at least somewhat helpful! 🙂 Good luck, may the lunch-gods be good to us all!

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